Jewish War Ethics, Ancient to Contemporary: A Conversation with Rabbi Shlomo Brody


How should we think about violent accounts in the Bible? Why did Gandhi urge the Jews to turn a blind eye to anti-Semitism during World War II? What is the reality behind buzz-words like asymmetric warfare and collective punishment that come up so often when discussing events in Gaza? What role should global opinion and the hostage crisis play in Israeli strategy? Is there a moral imperative to win?

Jewish ethicist Rabbi Dr. Shlomo Brody discusses these questions and more in this discussion of his recent book Ethics of Our Fighters: A Jewish View on War and Morality. This conversation examines how history and ethics bear on modern dilemmas in Gaza, and presents vital information and historical context for thinking about how to respond to the events of October 7.

Shlomo Brody is the Executive Director of Ematai, an organization which provides guidance to Jewish families and rabbis surrounding morally difficult health issues such as end-of-life care and organ donation. He is also the Jewish Law Live columnist for the Jerusalem Post. He has previously served as the founding director of the Tikvah Overseas Student Institute and co-dean of Tikvah Online Academy, a senior instructor at Yeshivat Hakotel, and as a junior research fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute. His writings have been cited in Israeli Supreme Court decisions and appeared in a wide variety of publications including First Things, Tablet, The Forward, and the Jewish Review of Books. A summa cum laude graduate of Harvard College, he received rabbinic ordination from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, an MA in Jewish philosophy at the Hebrew University, and his PhD from Bar Ilan University Law School.

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Annika Nordquist

Annika Nordquist is the Communications Coordinator of Princeton University’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and host of the Program’s podcast, Madison’s Notes. She graduated from Stanford University in 2021, where she studied Classics and Linguistics. She was also Editor-in-Chief of the Stanford Review and a member of the varsity fencing team. Previously, she was a Research Assistant in Education Policy at the American Enterprise Institute.

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